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Benin

 

Basic Indicators

Source: The State of the World's Children 2012 (UNICEF)

Population: 8.8 million
Capital City: Porto-Novo
Official Language: French
Per Capita Income: US$750/year
Youth Literacy Rate: 64% male/42% female
Access to Safe Water: 84% urban/69% rural
Under 5 Mortality Rate: 115/1,000 live births 

Benin is roughly the size of Pennsylvania. Located in West Africa, it shares its borders Sponsor a child today!with Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria. Benin also has a small amount of coastline on the Bight of Benin.

Benin is widely recognized as the birthplace of the Vodun religion—commonly known in the United States as Voodoo—which was brought to the US by slaves taken from the area.

The majority of Benin's workers are employed in subsistence farming of corn, yams, and cassava, while cotton is the main cash crop. The country's primary exports are textiles and crude oil extracted from small national reserves. One-third of the population lives below the poverty line. Widespread poverty and poorly developed roads and other infrastructure present significant problems for economic development.

Plan Benin works with nearly 16,000 children and their families focusing on improving education and health care, agricultural training, and increasing incomes. Except in emergency situations, Plan does not provide direct assistance. Instead, we help communities develop, grow and, ultimately, support themselves.

Hear from the children

An essential part of Plan's work is empowering children to discuss the issues that matter to them and to take part in decisions that affect their lives. To help you learn about these issues, the children in Plan communities have put together a series of publications called "See Our World": Read what the children have to say about their lives.